Oberheim Matrix 6

Oberheim Matrix-6 Image

The Matrix 6 was one of the last few synthesizers from Oberheim to come out during the mid-eighties following the classic OB-series. The Matrix 6 utilized high-tech but less expensive digital and midi features and still retained a totally analog sound. It did this by using DCOs (digitally controlled oscillators) to provide stability, programmability and more. All the Matrix synthesizers featured Matrix Modulation which allows for extremely wild virtual patching for almost unlimited range of sounds and modulation capabilities!

The Matrix 6 is a very popular synthesizer today because it offers access to the legendary sounds and power of the Matrix 12, though not as meaty but at a fraction of the cost. The Matrix 6 is also like the Xpander, but with only 6 voices of polyphony and slimmer programming. Each of its 6 voices has a pair of DCOs, a low pass filter, 2 VCA's, 3 envelope generators, 2 LFO's, and 2 ramp gens for a variety of complex analog pads, basses and sounds.

The programmability is vast, but it can be very tedious. As was the growing trend in synthesizers during this time, knobs and sliders were replaced by just a few membrane buttons and a simple data slider. This is accompanied by gobs of programming and patch data written across the face of the unit. Fortunately Midi SysEx is fully supported so you can get patches on-line and transmit them into the Matrix. Access, makers of the Virus, used to make the Matrix Programmer which gives you much more user friendly hands-on controls too. And software editors such as Unisyn make graphic editing possible for much easier programming.

Oberheim Matrix-6R Image

The Matrix 6R (pictured above) is the Matrix 6 without a keyboard, retaining its membrane programming interface. Oberheim later produced the Matrix 1000, which is essentially 1000 patches from the Matrix 6 in a 1-unit rack-module, preset and editable only through SysEx. For professional studio work or live on stage, both the Matrix 6 keyboard and rack-mount are excellent and versatile synths that make a great source of bright and punchy sounds, vintage analog pads, textures and ambient sounds. It is used by Orbital Apollo 440, Jimmy Edgar, Philip Glass, The Grid, Future Sound of London, Astral Projection, The Shamen, Mouse on Mars, Tangerine Dream and Cirrus.

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52 Visitor comments
Matrix 6
April 1, 2012 @ 12:52 am
it sounds big because of the Oberheim filters, but the oscillators are a bit sharp and the envelopes can be sluggish. the matrix mod makes it very capable of doing more than bread and butter sounds.
March 9, 2012 @ 8:39 am
Always underrated (which is good, it keeps prices realistic), the Matrix 6 offers not only plenty of possibilities for endless experimentation with modulating this with that, but (at times) a punchy, fat and creamy sound which utterly belies its initital reception (suspect: initially terrible presets) and certainly its current lukewarm status. This is a monster analog poly which can blow many far more desired synths out of the water without trying - if you bundle it with some outboard controller, that is, since it hides its glory behind a small screen with little tactile control.
February 3, 2012 @ 2:05 am
@fifth dimension:

They might have, due to the fact that Com Truise apparently uses one. A lot of his sound has more to do with the production than the synth itself, but he does manage to pull off some nice lush tones.
fifth dimension
January 16, 2012 @ 4:58 pm
Has the price of these gone up? I see one locally on craigslist, but it's $100 more than the price range bracket on here.
January 8, 2012 @ 12:37 pm
complex. routing possibilities are vast, access is through membrane buttons, so it takes time to understand whats under the bonnet.
overall, this is an extremely capable, "big" synthesizer - there are parameters and routings available here that put it closer to the modular-corner than to early 80s know/slider analogues. sound is always a matter of taste; nevertheless, it is fair to say that the matrix 6 is "euphoric" and "huge", couple that with its compexity and you end up with something quite desirable.

in the discipline of "complexity vs market price", this thing is off the scale.
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Rated 4.54 (1008 Votes)

  • Check Price
  • The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace or post a wanted classified.
  • Specifications
  • Polyphony - 6 voices
  • Oscillators - 12 DCO's at 2 per voice
  • Layers - Single / Split / 2-part Multitimbral
  • Memory - 100 patches, 50 splits
  • Filter - 1 lowpass resonant filter
  • VCA - 2 VCA + 3 Multimode Envelopes
  • LFO - 2 (plus 1 for vibrato effect)
  • Keyboard - 61 keys (w/ velocity and aftertouch)
  • Arpeg/Seq - None
  • Control - MIDI In/OUT/THRU
  • Date Produced - 1986 - 1988

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